What is Dual Diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis is a term used a person with a mental illness also has a substance abuse disorder at the same time. More than half of persons who have a serious mental illness also have a substance use or abuse disorder. This is often also called “co-occurring disorders.“
Many rehabilitation programs are not prepared to treat a client with both a substance abuse disorder and a mental health disorder. If not treated properly, individuals with dual diagnosis have a higher chance of relapse.”
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Panic Anxiety Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- What Are Some Mental Disorders?
People who are diagnosed with a bipolar disorder tend to have very severe emotional instability. They have alternating episodes of depression and manic symptoms, which may last anywhere from hours to weeks depending on the individual. During a manic period, an individual experiences high levels of energy and emotions, which may lead them to make risk-taking decisions.
An individual with a personality disorder has difficulty understanding who they are or establishing relationships with others.
An individual with depression may experience low self-esteem, hopelessness, irritability, constant sadness and, for some, suicidal thoughts. They tend to lose interest in activities they used to enjoy.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
An individual with OCD or (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is someone who uses ritualistic behaviors such as repetitively touching an object or constantly washing their hand to control their fears.
Panic Anxiety Disorder
Panic Anxiety Disorder causes a person to have a panic episode that is usually triggered by everyday situations. During an attack the person could experience chest pain, tightness in the throat, a racing heartbeat, tremors and sweating. Panic attacks are rarely life-threatening.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or seeing a terrifying event.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition in which a person has trouble paying attention and focusing on tasks. They tend to act without thinking and have trouble sitting still.
Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating are psychiatric conditions. People with these conditions have abnormal or disturbed eating patterns.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
When individuals are left without proper treatment, they can not manage their own symptoms and worsen with time. One proven treatment for dual diagnosis is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. This therapy technique “is a solution-focused approach to treatment, oriented toward solving problems and learning skills.(1)“ Addiction is rarely the only issue facing clients and is often just a symptom related to underlying issues related to depression and/or mood disorders. By creating individualized treatment plans focused on Dual Diagnosis, clients at Ventura Recovery Center have a much higher chance at achieving long-term sobriety. We are ending addiction one person at a time, one day at a time.
Is Dual Diagnosis Common?
Dual diagnosis is so prevalent, those who work with the mentally ill have come to expect co-occurring drug abuse. Studies show that 50% of persons with mental illness also have a substance abuse problem. And more than half the persons with a substance abuse disorder also have a diagnosable mental illness.
Dual Diagnosis Symptoms
The defining characteristic of dual diagnosis is that both a mental health and substance abuse disorder occur simultaneously. Because there are many combinations of disorders that can occur, the symptoms of dual diagnosis vary widely. The symptoms of substance abuse may include:
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Using substances under dangerous conditions
- Engaging in risky behaviors when drunk or high
- Loss of control over use of substances
- Doing things you wouldn’t normally do to maintain your habit
- Developing tolerance and withdrawal symptoms
- Feeling like you need the drug to be able to function